Comparing the Cleveland Cavaliers to MSU Spartans Coached by Tom Izzo
In case you haven't heard, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo might be leaving to take the head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Izzo would be leaving the program he has built up for the past fifteen years, but the opportunity to coach Lebron James may be just too good to pass up.
Many analysts have said that Izzo would most likely stumble if he tried to coach in the NBA, citing his fiery personality as one of the main reasons.
However, as far as a diagramming a system to win in the NBA, Izzo may have the ability to conform to the different style of play.
Izzo has always preached an uptempo style of play that would be well suited for the Cavaliers.
As a way of predicting how Izzo's coaching style would translate to the NBA, I compared many players from last year's Cleveland roster to players Izzo has coached throughout his time at MSU.
Mo Williams is Kalin Lucas
The Cavaliers' point guard plays very similar to the way Spartan point guard Kalin Lucas runs the position.
In Tom Izzo's system, he relies on his point guards to become team leaders and floor generals. He molds them into an extension of himself on the court.
Lucas and former star Mateen Cleaves have epitomized this attitude better than any other point guards at Michigan State during Izzo's tenure.
If Mo Williams is willing to learn and lead under Izzo's system, the Cavaliers could have a much better playoff run in 2011.
Delonte West is Drew Neitzel
Drew Neitzel was single-handily responsible for keeping coach Izzo's streak of NCAA Tournament appearances alive in 2007.
In that season, the ambidextrous Neitzel averaged more than 18 points per game while making just over 41 percent of his attempts from behind the arc.
The left-handed shooting guard for the Cavaliers has also been quite efficient from behind the arc throughout his career. West is a career 37 percent shooter from the three point line.
Antawn Jamison is Jason Richardson
Both players have had successful NBA careers. Although Richardson is much more of a high-flier than Jamison, they have very similar career statistics.
Both players have averaged between 18 and 20 points throughout their career while shooting around 45 percent from the field.
Jamison will never be able to have the same impact that Richardson did during his run at MSU, but he would definitely be a solid piece in Izzo's puzzle.
Anderson Varejao is Aloysius Anagonye
Although Anagonye only played two seasons under Izzo, he is still regarded as one of the most physical players to have gone through Michigan State during Izzo's tenure.
Both forwards are tenacious rebounders and opportunistic scorers.
Anagonye averaged just over seven points per game through his career as a Spartan, while Varejao averaged just over eight points a game this past season.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas is Goran Suton
The similarities are impeccable here.
Both big men play a very international style of ball. They can each step out and hit an 18 foot jump shot while having a wide array of interior post moves.
Both centers have been under-appreciated defenders on the block as well.
The fans even had similar chants for Suton and Ilgauskas.
Roars of "Geee" would often resonate throughout the Izzone following a Suton bucket. Cavalier fans still shout "Zeee" following an Ilgauskas basket.
Anthony Parker is Chris Hill
I might be giving Anthony Parker to much credit with this comparison, but he has the potential to thrive under Izzo's system.
Chris Hill made a three pointer in 92 of his 96 games during his career at MSU. At one point this included a streak of 47 consecutive games.
Parker attempted more than half of his field goals from behind the arc this season, and he converted a very healthy 41 percent of those tries.
Izzo's system creates a lot of stand still open jumpers from behind the arc, and if Parker can get on a roll, he could find much success in this scheme.
Jamario Moon is Shannon Brown
Moon and Brown are both best known for their circus acts above the rim.
During Brown's career at MSU, he made a habit of jumping over anything that was standing between him and the rim, and he will always be remembered for his outstanding dunking ability.
Moon would have the opportunity to get out and run as part of Izzo's "numbered break" system off of made or missed baskets.
If Moon is willing to run the wing nonstop, he could set himself up for many highlights in the near future if Izzo goes to Cleveland.
Daniel Gibson is Chris Allen
Chris Allen and Daniel Gibson both have the ability to change the course of any game.
However, they can each go silent and do nothing on any given night as well.
Both shooting guards live on the three point line and are very streaky shooters. Gibson shot 47 percent last year from three land, while Allen shot 40 percent.
If Gibson were to play under Izzo's system, he would have ample opportunities to shoot from distance, and the Cavs would be very hard to beat any night in which he is shooting well.
Shaq is Derrick Nix
I could have put Draymond Green in this spot as well, but his emergence as a pretty good ball handler in last year's Final Four run would be giving way too much credit to Shaq's ability to run the point.
Although Nix just finished his freshman season, he already has the reputation of being a physical beast with pretty good footwork and decent touch on the block.
Nix also shot 27 percent from the free-throw line this year. I don't think Shaq was ever that bad, but he's been close.
Izzo always makes a good effort of isolating his bigs on the block, and if Shaq wants to stay for one more year, he will have plenty of opportunities to put the ball in the basket.
Lebron James is Morris Peterson
There is no question Lebron James is one of the most talented and dominating players in the NBA today.
During his time at Michigan State, Peterson was a perfect compliment to Mateen Cleaves during their run to a national championship in 2000.
Peterson was best known for being on the receiving end of numerous alley-oops thrown by Cleaves, and he could score from anywhere on the court as well.
James would thrive as a wing player in Izzo's system. Izzo often runs numerous plays to set his wings up for wide open jump shots or backdoor cuts for dunks.
There is no doubt James would be able to capitalize on those opportunities.